Faculty Articles

Title

Research issues related to the oral health status of aging veterans

ISBN or ISSN

0025-7079

Publication Title

Medical Care

Volume

33

Issue

1

Publication Date / Copyright Date

11-1-1995

First Page

N545

Last Page

N556

Abstract

This article reviews the research on the oral health status of aging veterans and offers recommendations for a research agenda that will improve their oral health and quality of life. Uniform definitions, or a "composite" measure, of overall oral health status would facilitate oral health status measurement. Because such a measure is not available, traditional oral epidemiologic indexes or treatment-needs data have been used to identify oral health status in aging veterans. Few studies of national scope have been conducted on veterans. A cost-effective alternative may be cooperative studies within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other organizations. The Department of Veterans Affairs Dental Longitudinal Study (DLS), begun in 1968, provides the richest data on an aging veteran population. More frequently, VA investigators have examined local or regional veteran populations. These studies have examined oral health status and risk factors associated with oral diseases. Unlike the DLS, most studies have been cross-sectional, and a few studies have examined the effect of systemic disease on oral health and vice versa. Key research agenda items and recommendations include: Development and validation of functional measures of oral health status; Implementation of multicenter, cooperative, descriptive, and analytic epidemiologic studies; Implementation of focused cross-sectional and longitudinal studies on oral health status, treatment needs, and patient outcomes; Enumeration of data sets in the VA system that can be shared with non-VA investigators; Implementation of targeted studies of aging populations who have specific comorbidities prevalent in VA; and Use of VA continuum of care to study the relation between oral and systemic diseases.

Disciplines

Dentistry

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Peer Reviewed

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